Columns: No Margins, No Limits, No Kidding!
No Mixed Breeds in Poodle Club Agility
Are you struggling with a mixed breed in Agility? Find out why this club only allows purebred dogs to compete in a sport where predictable performance is key.
September 2016 | TheDogPress.com
Vickie Haywood, Dog Sports Editor
Google Designer Dogs and in 41 seconds you will get over 12 million hits. What is the one most popular breed of dog that is used most often for the cross? Poodles. Yep - my breed. Our club has been putting on agility trials for quite a few years. AKC, in its infinite wisdom, gave clubs the option to check a box to allow mix breeds on the applications for agility, obedience and rally trials. My club membership has VOTED every year to not allow mixed breeds, AKC designer dogs. We are not the only specialty club that feels this way. Reasonable, we are after all a Breed Club.
But every year we get at least one disgruntled exhibitor who fires off a nasty gram, how dare we not include mixed breeds, Canine Partners, All American dogs, whatever the media term of the week is for mutts!!! Let’s face facts, the AKC is going to generate $$$ any way they can. Fortunately we still have a choice.
The bottom line is...it does not affect our bottom line.
There are literally thousands of agility trials in many venues, not just AKC, held across the USA every year and many do allow mutts. There are many opportunities for them and their owners to participate in many kinds of events. Ours is not one of them.
Why?? Because our members strongly feel that the poodle is a much maligned breed used by greeders to create a bank account to pay off the mortgage. We know our stand is infinitesimal in the grand scheme of things. But it is OUR club, OUR stand. We are keepers of OUR breed, we are ethical breed preservation breeders. Someday, AKC may no longer give us that option - to check that box or not - but until then we take this stand.
Agility is an addicting, expensive sport and it is FULL of title seekers but one thing is for sure, agility separates the players. The dogs running at the top of the game are incredible athletes. Many of those top Agility dogs are trained 3 or more days a week. Many are given the gift of tread mills, swimming pools, chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture and Reiki. They are carefully fed athletes. Agility competitors (including the owners) are trained mind, body, and soul. And, the vast majority are well bred, health tested, correct conformation, tractable examples of their breed. Very few shelter dogs, mutts or designer dogs make it far in the sport. Oh sure, some make the top 50 and they are listed in AKC as all American Dogs in the breed line item. Fantastic. Congratulations for dedication and perseverance.
Agility competitors get started just like obedience and rally people - they go to a class to train their dog to behave, get a little introduction to competing with the dog - the dog was top at class graduation and the next thing you know the bug has bitten the owner, and they are off!!!! But unfortunately once they leave the lower levels, they may find their dog does not have the temperament, tractability or correct body structure to continue at the upper levels.
The mixed breed or designer dog, even some purebred dogs may be injured, become soured, or cannot pass the harder tests no matter how much training. Why? Because they just were not bred and born to such intense brain and physical stress. The owner becomes discouraged, and leaves the sport. Or the owner listens, becomes educated, and goes in search for the RIGHT dog to go all the way to the top.
No matter what breed or mix of breeds, the agility owner has become educated and today they are looking at body structure and temperament.
It is OUR job, as keepers of any breed, to breed with not just conformation in our minds. We must have the whole BIG picture in our minds because honestly finding someone new to mentor and bring into the sport of conformation is a dwindling prospect but the opportunities for other events is growing by leaps and bounds. You only have to look at what AKC publishes for show stats to see that Breed competition and Obedience is dropping. But Rally is growing, Hunt work is growing and Agility has exploded!
I began the whole dog world scene in the obedience rings. I reveled in my top scoring PET poodles and vowed that someday I would own a dog with both beauty and brains. It did not take long to accomplish that dream. I am a proud breeder of many Champions and obedience titled dogs but I am just as proud of the UD, click for instant information on ii MACH, and MACH 7, Pach 2, Tracking and Excellent Rally titled poodles that I bred. I know well the commitment of training to achieve these high level titles. I know well the structure and movement, trainability and tractability necessary to stay in the game to reach high titles. In my senior years, I once again am dreaming of a dual title dog. We are only 6 points (majors) away from a CH on one of the mentor litter (1.2 COI) at 24 months of age.
I am thinking an obedience title might have to go at the end of his name, or lets dream big and go for a WC or WCX, he really, REALLY likes ducks....
In the meantime, we who seek to protect our breeds from the Designer and doodle craze MUST continue to educate. NO BREED is immune it seems, but the poodle is still the cross of choice. Yes, at times we know it falls on deaf ears. But, they say Karma is a --- well you know they aren't called bitches for nothing. Those who support the bank accounts of the greeders, will meet Karma at some point in time.